Eighteenth century England saw pineapples as a symbol of wealth and status
When Christopher Columbus brought pineapple from the New World to Spain, people were so astounded that it was considered as a symbol of wealth and status. Many wealthy men, particularly the royalty of England sought the fruit to show their power.
Pineapples would often be depicted in commissioned paintings or it would be featured in wooden furniture to indicate their lavish social affluence. The fruit first appeared in England in the 17th century and during the 18th century, they became a popular symbol of opulence and luxury. Prices even just for renting the fruit overnight would reach an equivalent amount of $8,000.
Columbus first encountered the lush fruit from the islands of Guadeloupe during his second voyage to the (sometimes treacherous) Caribbean. It has been cultivated in the island for centuries even before Columbus set his foot on the island’s soils.
Royal families from Europe absolutely adored the sweet and tender meat of the fruit because sugary products were steadily demanded, but the market lacked supply. During those times, the only way to supply the European market was to directly import the pineapple from South America. But because the only way for it to reach Europe was through the seas, it would often arrive overripe or rotting.
Pineapples were first grown in Europe during the mid-17th century in hothouses that simulated the temperature and humid conditions of Southern America. And because there was a scarcity of supply, only the extremely wealthy royal families could afford a piece of pineapple.
Extremely wealthy personages during that time including Catherine the Great, Charles II and Louis XV were the only ones who were able to taste the sweetness of the tropical fruit. Early American settlers during the 1700s also had a taste of pineapple, but they had to pay exorbitant amounts of money for the fruit. It was very expensive that one piece of pineapple would cost a humongous amount of $8,000 in today’s money.